Like bubbles moving in water as its temperature rises to a boil, more and more people around the world are in motion, seeking — like those bubbles — to move upward from the hellfires of war or instability, repression or economic failure to better places that promise peace, predictability, protection and a chance to make a living.
In 2015, in Europe and the Middle East, human migration boiled over, spilling hundreds of thousands of people across borders, splashing down in hundreds of cities and towns, and blistering the lives and the politics of two continents.
There are several factors creating this crisis…most immediate, the years of warfare, death and destruction that put millions of people out of their homes, fleeing for their lives, from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. …But these people are just part of a wider flow of border-crossers in motion, usually east to west or south to north in search of better lives.
Spurring their movement may not be wars, which can end, or political oppression, which can be relieved, but something much less controllable, something that is growing even faster than violence or tyranny. … Knowledge is what has made the global migration of people perhaps the most important trend of our time.
Now, more than ever before, people living in the worst social, political and economic conditions, know there are better alternatives. All the positive developments in global communication, the spread of literacy, the voices of radio, the pictures and narratives of television and the universe of possibilities inherent in a smart phone, tablet or computer grow knowledge and encourage migration.
For the majority of people now trying to change their home addresses, the potential options could not, as recently as 20 years ago, have been dreamed of, imagined, much less sought after.
As technology speeds knowledge, it will propel people to move toward what they have come to know, what many people consider simply “normal life.”
Our guest today, Demetrios Papademetriou, is not only one of the world’s top scholars of human migration, his Washington-based think-tank, the Migration Policy Institute maintains some of the world’s best databases on the movements of people around the world.
Demetrios Papademetriou, president emeritus of the Migration Policy Institute and president of MPI Europe, explains the origins of the refugee crisis in Europe and discusses actions that Europe and other regions can take in the near and long term to address the flows.